“It’s going to be cold tonight, wrap your tender plants.” We’ve all heard that warning, right? (well okay most of us…). Having been through the Portland’s “arctic blast of 2009” I have serious doubts if, after a point, that wrapping really helps much at all. Maybe when you’re looking at a couple of nights dipping into the low to mid 20’s, but when the thermometer reads 12.7 and you haven’t been above freezing for five days and nights? Well that, as they say, is a horse of a different color.
So in the hours before our latest arctic air blast arrived did I say “to hell with it” and stay inside curled up on the couch with a nice glass of wine? Of course not. If there was a chance I could save some plants by spending a few hours wrapping and covering, of course I had to try. I cannot just stand by and watch a plant die without trying to help it.
For the most part I wrapped things I thought had a chance with a little boost (my scheffleras or the Feijoa sellowiana). Or things that I just stubbornly wanted to believe I might be able to will into living (like the Dicksonia antarctica (tree fern) and my Banksia marginata).
Most of the front yard agaves went under frost cloth with a terra-cotta pot to keep it in place.
Some however were too big and had to make a go of it with just the cloth and some burlap.
Inspired by something a friend said, and having just worked with them on the shade pavilion greenhouse re-do, I bought a few pipe insulating tubes for the tetrapanax trunks.
They were cheap ($1.28) and if they work totally worth it.
In the back garden the bigger agaves got covered, and when the winds kicked in I raided the garage for things to keep the frost cloth and burlap in place. Oh and somewhere in there the show showed up.
A good inch fell but the wicked wind quickly redistributed it as it saw fit.
I kept seeing or being reminded of things I didn't cover, I just ran out of time and materials. Choices were made.
As I mentioned both of the hardy schefflera were both covered.
And the trunks of the palms were all wrapped.
Any container we could possibly move was moved on Thanksgiving weekend. Ultra sensitive things in the shade pavilion greenhouse were moved into the basement to make room for other containers in the greenhouse.
Unplanted purchases (from fall nursery adventures) "holding" in the driveway stock tanks were yanked out and moved into the basement. I was so glad I’d erred on the side of caution and just sunk most of them into the soil still in the nursery containers, so much easier to pull them out!
Other containers were moved into the garage. While it doesn’t really provide much heat (it’s detached and not heated) at least it would act as a wind break.
In a week moment I even placed socks on the flower buds of my edgeworthia, I doubt it has done any good but as you know, I’ve got to try. (notice the Fatsia japonica is winning the prize for cold weather drama queen)
As of this writing I have no idea what will live or die. I’ve learned it takes awhile for the damage to become obvious. So many things look fine right now, even those I know can’t possibly be...like the huge Acacia pravissima…
I wonder about the loquats.
This one (above) had the high overhead protection of the privet...
While the one against the back of the house, along with its neighboring Embothrium coccineum and Callistemon ‘Woodlander's Hardy Red’, had nothing.
And this Grevillea victoriae, hell all my Grevillea, what will become of them?
I’m pretty sure the Euphorbia stygiana is toast.
Same for the Cordyline 'Cha Cha' whose days were numbered from the beginning.
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